India, Pakistan and UN MDG Goals

In year 2000, leaders of rich and poor nations pledged to build a better world by 2015. Among their key goals now called Millennium Development Goals: halving extreme poverty and hunger from 1990 levels, reducing by two-thirds the child-mortality rate and slashing maternal mortality by three-quarters and achieving universal primary education.

The good news is that the share of people living on less than $1.25 a day seems on track to meet the goal of halving the extreme poverty rate. However, the bulk of those gains have occurred in China and other East Asian countries. In fact, East Asia, Southeast Asia and North Africa are all on track to achieve almost all of the MDGs by 2015, but South Asia and the rest of the developing world have made insufficient progress so far, according to the current assessment by UN agencies.



The three-day summit to press world leaders to meet U.N. MDGs by significantly reducing poverty by 2015 concluded Wednesday with new financial pledges from countries but no guarantee that there will be enough money and political will to meet the targets. With many countries under financial stress from the effects of the global economic crisis as well as rising food and energy prices, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked member nations not to abandon the 1 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day. While the MDG goals encompass a variety of areas including education, health and gender parity, the first and the most important of these goals is to reduce poverty

With South Asia as the region with the largest share of the one billion global poor, the world will not meet its targets unless there is much greater focus and strong commitment to meet MDG goals in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In fact, even South Asia has a better chance of meeting the poverty and hunger reduction goals excluding India. Let's discuss the status of South Asian nations to assess where they are and what needs to be done.



India alone has the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterate people living within its borders. A new multi-dimensional measure of poverty confirms that there is grinding poverty in resurgent India. It highlights the fact that just eight Indian states account for more poor people than the 26 poorest African countries combined, according to media reports. The Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, have 421 million "poor" people, compared to 410 million poor in the poorest African countries.

OPHI 2010 country briefings on India and Pakistan contain the following comparisons of multi-dimensional (MPI) and income poverty figures:

India
MPI= 55%,Under$1.25=42%,Under$2=76%,India_BPL=29%

Pakistan
MPI=51%,Under$1.25=23%,Under$2=60%,Pakistan_BPL=33%

Lesotho MPI=48%,Under$1.25=43%,Under$2=62%,Lesotho_BPL=68%

China
MPI=12%,Under$1.25=16%,Under$2=36%,China_BPL=3%

Among other South Asian nations, MPI index measures poverty in Bangladesh at 58 per cent and 65 per cent in Nepal.

On poverty in Pakistan, World Bank economist Sanket Mohapatra has said in a recent post that remittances by overseas Pakistanis have played a significant role in Pakistan's economic improvement. Not only have such remittances contributed to significant poverty reduction in Pakistan "by an impressive 17.3 percentage points between 2001 and 2008 (from 34.5 percent in 2001-02 to 17.2 percent in 2007-08)", but "continued strong growth in worker’s remittances in the past few years has also contributed to improvements in the external current account balance” and “have facilitated improvement in the country’s external position”, according to a World Bank report released on July 30, 2010.

There are now fears, however, that some of the gains made in poverty reduction have reversed due to widespread devastation in massive floods and Pakistan's economic woes since 2008 for which the poverty rate of 17% was reported by the World Bank. Thousands of schools and clinics have been destroyed in the recent deluge, setting back Pakistan's efforts toward meeting health and education related millennium development goals by 2015.

In addition to lagging in poverty reduction, South Asians are also doing poorly in terms of hunger and health indicators.

According to a recently-released FAO report's highlights as published in The Guardian, there are 847.5 million undernourished people in the world. India tops the list with 237.7 million, followed by China with 130.4 million, Pakistan 43.4 million, Democratic Republic of Congo 41.9 million, Bangladesh 41.7 million, Ethiopia 31.6 million and Indonesia 29.9 million.

A recent report by World Health Organization (WHO) claims that India accounts for most maternal deaths in the world, with at least 63,000 such deaths taking place in 2008 alone. In fact, India fared worse than even Nigeria (50,000 maternal deaths in 2008), Congo (19,000), Afghanistan (18,000), Ethiopia (14,000), Pakistan (14,000), Tanzania (14,000), Bangladesh (12,000), Indonesia (10,000), Sudan (9,700) and Kenya (7,900). An estimated 65% of maternal deaths globally occurred in these 11 countries in 2008, with India contributing the most.

As South Asians lurch toward the 2015 deadline for meeting the MDG goals, it is important to recognize their governments' role and the need for help from rich donor nations to significantly increase spending on human development for poverty reduction. However, the South Asian governments alone can not do it. The private sector organizations, NGOs and civil society have to come forward to make their contribution toward meeting the important MDG goals to reduce poverty and hunger and improve health and literacy.

In Pakistan's case in particular, the overseas Pakistanis and Pakistan's middle class need to step forward to do their part in rebuilding the shattered lives of millions of their poor fellow citizens affected by the recent floods.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

MDGs in Pakistani Village

UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2010

India Poorer Than Africa

India is Home to the World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterate People

Can Global Pakistanis Invest $10 billion in Reconstruction?

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Here is a NY Times Op Ed by Nicholas Kistoff on Pakistan:

Meanwhile, Pakistan seeks postflood aid from Western taxpayers, yet barely taxes its own affluent citizens at home. And its feudal landholders have historically opposed good schools, for fear that poor Pakistanis — if educated — would object to oppression.

One reason Pakistan is sometimes called the most dangerous country in the world is this: a kindergarten child in this country has only a 1 percent chance of reaching the 12th grade, according to the Pakistan Education Task Force, an official panel. The average Pakistani child is significantly less likely to be schooled than the average child in sub-Saharan Africa.

American myopia historically has played a role. We’ve propped up generals but not the lawyers’ movement for democracy. We’ve allocated billions of dollars for Pakistan’s army but not for schools. And the U.S. has never been willing to take the single most important step: open our markets wide to Pakistani garment exports, so as to provide jobs and strengthen the business sector.

Now let’s break for a ray of hope.

This is my first trip to Pakistan in years in which the country’s downhill slide seems to have been arrested — and that’s notwithstanding the floods that ravaged the country recently.

It helps that the United States has approved the Kerry-Lugar-Berman package to provide civilian aid, earning the U.S. a dose of goodwill in Pakistan. But most important, members of Pakistan’s emerging middle class are stepping up to the plate.

They are enraged at the terrorists who have been tearing apart their country, they’re appalled by corruption and illiteracy, and they want peace so that their children can become educated and live a better life. Their obsession is college, not Kashmir.

Partly because of middle-class influence, ordinary Pakistanis are increasingly focused on education. About one-fourth of Pakistani children, even from poor families, now attend private schools, simply because the public schools are so wretched.

These days the middle class is not only eclipsing the feudal landowners but also rejects the old feudal contempt for the masses. One reflection of the middle-class engagement is the rise of the Citizens Foundation, a terrific aid group started by a group of businessmen frustrated by their country’s appalling schools.

Today, T.C.F. runs 660 excellent schools for the poorest citizens. I visited several of these schools on this trip — and, wow!

T.C.F. spends 40 percent less per pupil than state schools do, but manages to provide incomparably better education. Here in the most-populous province of Punjab, for example, nearly 100 percent of Citizens Foundation pupils pass government exams, while over the last four years state schools have averaged a 44 percent pass rate.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a piece published in the Guardian on the need to help the poor in "middle income countries" like India and Pakistan:

One little noticed story of 2010 was that five more developing countries officially lost their "poor" status.

When the World Bank carried out its annual reclassification in July, Senegal, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen all graduated to middle-income status – countries that have reached the $1,000 (£644) or so GDP threshold.

Taken by themselves, not big news perhaps, but add to that 22 other countries which, since 2000, are no longer considered officially poor, then a quite profound global change is under way: in short, most of the world's poor no longer live in "poor" countries.

China was upgraded in 2001 (based on 1999 data) and India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Indonesia are among the other states that have become middle-income countries (MICs). Only 39 states are still considered to be low-income countries (LICs).

As we enter 2011, it is likely that more will follow. Ghana, for example, looks set to graduate in 2011, particularly in light of its new GDP figures unveiled last month. The country will join Senegal, Cameroon, Angola and Sudan, which are among the growing number of African MICs.

On the other hand, given the lingering reverberations of the global economic crisis, there is also a risk that some countries might drop back under the threshold, slipping once again into low-income status. Pakistan or the Ivory Coast might have cause for concern in 2011, for example.

On the whole, this is a good news story, but with an underside. Yes, there are fewer poor countries but poverty remains high in terms of absolute numbers in the MICs.

The news raises some pressing and difficult questions for aid and development policy. As developing countries get wealthier and are reclassified, many are still characterised by persistently high levels of poverty. Indeed, roughly three-quarters of the world's poor now live in MICs – 960 million, or a new "bottom billion". And this isn't just about China and India. Even if they are removed from the equation, the share of the world's poor living in MICs has still tripled since 1990.

In light of the above, how should global poverty reduction be done differently in 2011?

First, the LIC/MIC binary: If the focus is poor people not poor countries then the LIC/MIC way of looking at the world needs a rethink. The new UN multidimensional poverty measure might be one alternative tool. But there are many others.

Second, the end of aid and the equity elephant: overseas development assistance (ODA) is becoming less important and equity more important. More equitable countries reduce poverty faster, and stubborn asset, gender or identity inequality (ie caste systems) might begin to explain persistent poverty amid wealth in the new MICs. This entails some thinking on what ODA is for. Any attempt to discuss inequality will be viewed as an infringement on political sovereignty but is domestic inequality solely a domestic issue if it hinders the effectiveness of aid?

And could there be a case for a new multilateralism based on putting resources from donors and new MICs together? Keep an eye out in 2011: the fact that the world's poor are increasingly found in MICs has the power to shake up the entire aid and development industry.
Riaz Haq said…
Here is an excerpt from a Time magazine opinion piece by Hannah Beach on the status of Asian democracies:

Asia gave birth to people power in 1986, when a sea of yellow-clad demonstrators peacefully overthrew a dictator in the Philippines. Other popular uprisings against authoritarianism followed, from Thailand, South Korea and Taiwan to Mongolia and Indonesia. Watching the events unfold in the Arab world, Asia's fledgling democracies can be forgiven for indulging in a moment of nostalgia. While revolutionary zeal may have toppled the region's strongmen, however, too few of their successors have bothered to build the institutions needed to sustain democracy beyond its first flush. Democracy through revolution is heady stuff, but it's not always a template for building lasting freedom and justice.

The withered potential of people power is best examined on its home turf. This month, the Philippines will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the start of its historic uprising. Those following the events in Egypt will find many parallels. Ferdinand Marcos, a corrupt, aging, U.S.-backed dictator, was ousted by a populace that rallied, in part, thanks to technology. (Then it was radio, not Facebook or Twitter.) But a quarter-century later, with the son of people-power heroine Corazon Aquino now serving as President, the Philippines is still beset by the poverty, cronyism and nepotism that provoked the 1986 protests. (See a brief history of people power.)

These failings are not the Philippines' alone. Across Asia, elections are held, but vote buying taints the results. Politics is dominated by the same old families. Economic growth often rewards the few rather than the many. And from Malaysia and East Timor to Taiwan and Thailand, I have met local journalists who passed information on to me because they felt it was too dangerous to write about the issues themselves. Without the crucial check of a free press — or independent legislatures and courts, for that matter — democracy exists in name only.

Still, Asia also offers heartening lessons for the Arab world. There's South Korea, for instance, which overthrew a U.S.-backed military dictatorship, then carefully constructed a prosperous democracy. And then there's Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation. In 1998, after 32 years in power, strongman Suharto was forced out by massive street protests. Since then, change in Indonesia has occurred not in one cataclysmic jolt but instead through years of brick-by-brick nation building. That may not sound sexy, but it works. Indonesia has now peacefully cycled through several secular-minded leaders, and its civil society is flourishing. The country's problems are still immense: graft and poverty persist, as does sectarian conflict. But Egypt could do a lot worse than to follow the model of this moderate, Muslim-majority democracy
Riaz Haq said…
A quick comparison of the figures from Pakistan Center for Philanthropy and Bain and Co confirms the fact that the rich in India are only half as philanthropic as their Pakistani counterparts.

Here's an excerpt from a report by Arpan Seth of Bain:

In 2006, India’s giving totaled close to $5 billion. That would translate into $7.5 billion in 2009 based on gross domestic product (GDP) figures if the rate of giving remained steady. According to Bain analysis, philanthropic donations
would amount to 0.6 percent of India’s GDP. In Brazil, the rate of giving is 0.3 percent and in China, just one-tenth of 1 percent, so we are faring well when
compared with other emerging nations. But this is cold comfort given the enormous needs of the poor and disadvantaged in India."

The fact is that the lack of philanthropy by the rich in India is common knowledge, and it has come under criticism in the media recently.

Here's an excerpt from a recent news story in London's Daily Telegraph:

"Azim Premji, the founder of Wipro, a software and call centre to cooking oil empire, is India's second wealthiest man, and one of the world's richest 50 tycoons with a personal fortune of $18 billion.

The donation means he will succeed the Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has given $1.6 billion to charitable projects in India, as the country's largest individual donor.

The announcement of his gift came amid criticism that too few of India's growing number of millionaires and global billionaires take philanthropy seriously or give enough of their wealth to charitable causes.

The Prince of Wales sought to bridge the gap in charitable giving on the Indian subcontinent when he hosted a dinner for some of the regions wealthiest businessmen and sought to persuade them to set an example by giving to well-run charities. He invited Ratan Tata, owner of Jaguar Land Rover, steel baron Lakshmi Mittal, property magnate K.P Singh and Mukesh Ambani, the world's richest Indian, to launch the British Asian Trust to encourage Asian billionaires to give more. "
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a piece by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen on economic growth and quality of life in India and China:

It could, however, be asked why this distinction should make much difference, since economic growth does enhance our ability to improve living standards. The central point to appreciate here is that while economic growth is important for enhancing living conditions, its reach and impact depend greatly on what we do with the increased income. The relation between economic growth and the advancement of living standards depends on many factors, including economic and social inequality and, no less importantly, on what the government does with the public revenue that is generated by economic growth.

Some statistics about China and India, drawn mainly from the World Bank and the United Nations, are relevant here. Life expectancy at birth in China is 73.5 years; in India it is 64.4 years. The infant mortality rate is fifty per thousand in India, compared with just seventeen in China; the mortality rate for children under five is sixty-six per thousand for Indians and nineteen for the Chinese; and the maternal mortality rate is 230 per 100,000 live births in India and thirty-eight in China. The mean years of schooling in India were estimated to be 4.4 years, compared with 7.5 years in China. China’s adult literacy rate is 94 percent, compared with India’s 74 percent according to the preliminary tables of the 2011 census.

As a result of India’s effort to improve the schooling of girls, its literacy rate for women between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four has clearly risen; but that rate is still not much above 80 percent, whereas in China it is 99 percent. One of the serious failures of India is that a very substantial proportion of Indian children are, to varying degrees, undernourished (depending on the criteria used, the proportion can come close to half of all children), compared with a very small proportion in China. Only 66 percent of Indian children are immunized with triple vaccine (diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus), as opposed to 97 percent in China.

Comparing India with China according to such standards can be more useful for policy discussions in India than confining the comparison to GNP growth rates only. Those who are fearful that India’s growth performance would suffer if it paid more attention to “social objectives” such as education and health care should seriously consider that notwithstanding these “social” activities and achievements, China’s rate of GNP growth is still clearly higher than India’s.


http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/may/12/quality-life-india-vs-china/
Riaz Haq said…
ISLAMABAD: Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has been a success story for the welfare of the people of Pakistan. Its various initiatives especially Emergency Relief Package (ERP) to help conflict ridden people in tribal areas and victims of terrorism has been a phenomenal step. This was declared by a delegation of journalists from leading newspapers of Indonesia during its meeting with Federal Minister and Chairperson BISP, Madame Farzana Raja in BISP secretariat. The journalists appreciated BISP’s performance and were of the view that the Programme’s success in the social sector of Pakistan has been an overwhelming experience for them. The Indonesian journalists said that the welfare of the people is the primary responsibility of the state and through BISP; Pakistan has been able to achieve this objective to a great extent.
Madame Farzana Raja on the occasion informed Indonesian journalists that BISP has introduced Waseela-e-Haq (Right to Livelihood), Waseela-e-Rozgar (Right to Employment), Waseela-e-Sehet (Life and Health Insurance) and Waseela-e-Taleem (Right to Education) for its beneficiary families which are bringing sustainable economic growth in the society by empowering people from lower strata. Chairperson BISP said that BISP in the lights of the Millennium Development Goals of the UN is striving hard to provide basic health and education facilities to 7 million families. She said that the wellbeing of the people is the primary role of a welfare state. Federal Minister said that BISP is working for making Pakistan a progressive welfare state where most deserving families are provided ample opportunities to become self-reliant.
Riaz Haq said…
An Ambitious Development Agenda From the U.N. #sustainabledevelopment #SDGs replace #MDGs http://nyti.ms/1VljRDy

Here's NY Times Op Ed on Sustainable Development Goals 2030:

The new targets are known as the Sustainable Development Goals, and they were formally adopted by the United Nations on Friday. Nothing appears to have been left out. There are 17 goals in all, covering areas like poverty, public health, the environment, education and justice.

So far, they are rather vaguely stated. The U.N. has not yet established statistical indicators against which to measure progress. It promises these numbers in the coming months. That won’t be easy in some cases: Goal No. 16, for example, calls on countries to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Several goals, including those on sustainable consumption and production (No. 12), climate change (No. 13), conserving oceans (No. 14) and sustainable use of land (No. 15) cover a lot of the same ground and might easily have been consolidated. The U.N. should have picked fewer and more targeted goals.

That said, this is a worthy, high-minded effort. Developed economies like those of the United States, the European Union and Japan need to play an important role by providing more aid, expertise and private investment to developing countries. And industrialized nations need to revive their economies to help lift global growth, which the International Monetary Fund estimates will slow to 3.3 percent this year, from 3.4 percent in 2014.

Multilateral agencies like the World Bank can also help with research and by financing public works projects. And charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be critical in providing money and leadership to achieve public health goals like eliminating malaria and other tropical diseases (No. 3).

Realistically, some nations may be beyond help at this point because they are so deeply mired in war and other conflicts. Without peace and better political leadership, it is hard to anticipate big gains in development in places like Iraq, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/28/opinion/an-ambitious-development-agenda-from-the-un.html?_r=0
Riaz Haq said…
The Pakistan Education Statistics 2015-16 fact sheets compiled by Alif Ailaan shows that Pakistan failed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets for universal primary school access, improving retention in schools and increasing adult literacy.

The MGDs report available on its official page also revealed that not only did Pakistan come up short in upholding its international commitment to ensure all its citizens access to primary education as prescribed under the MDG, but it has also failed to meet its constitutional obligations at national and provincial level. The report of the MDGs has also recommended a high standard of education. The education departments of a country need to consider the urgency of improving educational quality in the country, which is not necessarily linked to infrastructure alone.

According to Alif Alian, Provincial and National Education Scores For the fourth year consecutively, Islamabad has ranked highest amongst all provinces of the Pakistan. The Education Score of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) remained at the same ranks they were last year, with KP at number five. However, the provinces suffered a decline in their Education Score of almost two percentage points each. KP demonstrated improvements in both enrolment and gender parity scores. However the reduction in the overall Education Score of the province is mainly due to the decline in retention rates.

The report of the independent organization also indicates that 50 percent of KP schools still do not have any of the four basic facilities available (electricity, drinking water, toilets and boundary walls). Unlike Punjab, KP’s districts are more evenly distributed whereby one specific region does not dominate the rest, as was the case in previous years.

The Pakistan District Education Rankings 2016 have suggested that for the fourth annual iteration for tracking progress, three districts of the province - Malakand, Mardan and Haripur - ranked in the top 25 of the country.

The data accumulation process of the organization found that two districts of the province - Tank and Kohistan - are ranked in the bottom 25. Kohistan was the worst performing district. However, as result of the Fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 KP the provincial allocation is PKR 43.6 billion while the district component is PKR 99.8 billion which will have a positive impact for the improvement of district level education status. Fifty percent of the provincial budget has been allocated for the districts but no detail or formula has been mentioned concerning how the funds are to be allocated. The minister made clear the formula or break-up of development and current allocations of funds to districts. It is pertinent to mention here that the factsheet praised the meritorious policy of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in the previous FY 2015-16 merit base recruitment of over 12,000 school teachers through the National Testing Service (NTS) in FY 2015-16.

Despite a five-year trend of increasing enrollment rates, many children are still out of school and gender disparity remains a challenge. 52 percent girls in the province remain out of school compared to 21 boys. Media Manager of the Alif Ailaan Mariam Jamal said, while speaking to Daily Time that the data presented in the factsheet was collected painstakingly at a district level and compiled at the provincial and regional levels from the Annual School Census (ASC), which is regularly conducted every year by provincial and regional Education Management Information Systems (EMIS).

http://dailytimes.com.pk/khyber-pakhtunkhwa/16-Jun-16/pakistan-fails-to-meet-mdg-goals-for-primary-school-access-again

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